The internet giants depend on our data. A new relationship between us and them could deliver real value to society.
The internal-combustion engine has been dominant for over a hundred years—not because it’s the best possible engine, but because it gained an initial advantage through historical accident. The QWERTY keyboard layout was designed to be deliberately inefficient so that the mechanical keys of the typewriter would jam less frequently. That feature is no longer relevant, but it doesn’t matter—we’re still typing on QWERTY keyboards, because that’s what people are used to.